Thursday, December 19, 2019

Rig Count Rises in Utica Shale for 2nd Straight Week

WEEK ENDING 12/14/19



New permits issued last week: 15 (Previous week: 9)  +6
Total horizontal permits issued: 3205 (Previous week: 3217 -12
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2725 (Previous week: 2740)  -15
Total horizontal wells producing: 2422 (Previous week: 2421)  +1
Utica rig count: 12 (Previous week: 11)  +1

Friday, December 13, 2019

Utica Shale 3rd Quarter Production Figures for 2019 Released

From the ODNR:
COLUMBUS, Ohio – During the third quarter of 2019, Ohio's horizontal shale wells produced 7,200,304 barrels of oil and 673,962,146 Mcf (674 billion cubic feet) of natural gas, according to the figures released today by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). These totals are new state records for quarterly oil and natural gas production since quarterly reporting began in 2013. 
Compared to a year ago, oil production increased by 29.84% and natural gas production showed a 11.27% increase over the third quarter of 2018. 
                       
The ODNR quarterly report lists 2,470 horizontal shale wells, 2,419 of which reported oil and natural gas production during the quarter. Of the wells reporting oil and natural gas results: 
The average amount of oil produced was 2,977 barrels. The average amount of natural gas produced was 278,612 Mcf. The average number of second quarter days in production was 87. 
All horizontal production reports can be accessed at oilandgas.ohiodnr.gov/production. 
Ohio law does not require the separate reporting of Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) or condensate. Oil and gas reporting totals listed on the report include NGLs and condensate. 
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.
Click here to view the original release.

Click here to view the spreadsheet containing all of the 2019 quarter 3 data. 

Latest ODNR Report Shows Large Jump in Number of Utica Wells in Production

WEEK ENDING 12/07/19



New permits issued last week: 9 (Previous week: 10)  -1
Total horizontal permits issued: 3217 (Previous week: 3216 +1
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2740 (Previous week: 2736)  +4
Total horizontal wells producing: 2421 (Previous week: 2367)  +54
Utica rig count: 11 (Previous week: 11)  +-0

Coverage of Carnegie Mellon Study Omits Clean-Air Facts

Over the weekend, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published an article detailing a Carnegie Mellon University study that claims to have calculated cumulative environmental and employment impacts of the shale revolution that has positively transformed Pennsylvania and surrounding states in the Marcellus and Utica Shale basins.
The research focuses on finding negative consequences; however, numerous studies – including a state Department of Environmental Protection report covered by the Post-Gazette last summer – have found an abundance of environmental, economic, and public health benefits that are attributed to natural gas development. Here are just a few examples of the science and data that contradict this latest attempt to detract attention to these benefits:
  • Energy Information Administration data released last month found 2,823 million metric tons in U.S. CO2 emissions reductions are credited to the shift in natural gas usage for power generation.
  • Environmental Protection Agency data indicated U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are at the lowest levels since the 1990s despite rapid increase in oil and natural gas production. 
  • National Bureau of Economic Research this year calculated shale gas development avoids approximately 11,000 deaths per year in the United States thanks to lower energy prices.
  • Pennsylvania & Colorado Departments of Health found most of the studies linking shale development to public health implications had “conflicting evidence (mixed), insufficient evidence, or in some cases, a lack of evidence of the possibility for harmful health effects.” 
“We were already well on our way in large part – and have actually since met what were proposed [Clean Power Plan] goals – primarily because of the shift toward cleaner natural gas.” We’ve seen improvements on ozone, we’ve seen improvements in those asthma precursors, those VOCs and nitrogen oxides.”
  • A two-year study conducted by an independent environmental and risk sciences organization found natural gas operations near a southwestern Pennsylvania school district “showed no air quality impacts of potential health concern”
The Post-Gazette, which frequently publishes articles with dubious claims about the oil and natural gas industry’s regional impacts, even noted that the Carnegie Mellon “study’s scope is limited” and does not accurately reflect the life-saving air quality benefits of switching to natural gas for power generation, and the role that plays in avoiding the premature deaths the report seeks to gauge. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that these calculated “premature deaths” are virtual calculations, and do not represent actual mortalities.
It’s also critical to note that one of the study’s authors – former Carnegie Mellon President Jared Cohon – is a board member of the Heinz Endowments, which is a frequent and generous donor to anti-natural gas advocacy groups. That foundation’s agenda-driven activism has been detailed by EID.
While scientists, health experts, the industry and policy makers work vigorously to ensure natural gas development is safe and well-regulated, studies like this – and coverage of them by outlets such as the Post-Gazette – serve only to feed a false narrative that we must choose between a healthy environment and economic growth. American natural gas and oil production has shown repeatedly we can – and do – have both.

Gas Lobby Striking Back as Environmentalists Try to Ban New Gas Hook-Ups

From Bloomberg:
With moves to ban new natural gas hook-ups growing in popularity as a means of tackling climate change, the industry is fighting back.

The American Gas Association, which represents distributors, is seeking to forge new alliances to counter a trend started by Berkeley -- which became the first U.S. city to require new buildings to be all electric from January -- that has spread elsewhere in California and is on the verge of going national.

“We are well down that path of pulling in natural allies who can share the message that taking away options -- without understanding the implications -- is not fair to communities,” said Scott Prochazka, the new chairman of the AGA, who’s also the chief executive officer of CenterPoint Energy Inc.

For more on natural gas bans, click here

The AGA cited as a recent example a proposal put forward in Seattle to adopt a ban on gas in new construction. The resolution was tabled after a diverse group of restaurant owners, labor unions, realtors and home builders came together in opposition.
Read on by clicking right here. 

OVOGA Holiday Party Full of Optimism About Future of Oil and Gas in Ohio Valley

From WTRF:


The Ohio Valley Oil and Gas Association hosted it’s annual Holiday Party Dinner Discussion and Happy Hour on Wednesday night. The event was held at Wheeling Island Resort & Casino for the second year in a row.
Industry professionals had the chance to reunite with old friends, learn new tricks of the trade and expand their network.
“The biggest benefit to coming to these events for our members is the networking,” said AJ Smith, President of Hull & Associates. “Getting to talk to each other, Toby Rice with EQT who is our speaker tonight and others in the industry to try to do business together and do more business for the oil and gas industry.”
The natural resources of the tri-state area position this region as a leader in global energy production. Oil and gas is a thriving industry in the United States and it’s continuing to expand all around us.
Click here to view the original article. 

Chevron Becomes Latest Driller to Plan Exit From Utica and Marcellus Drilling

From Bloomberg:
Chevron Corp. expects to write down as much as $11 billion in the fourth quarter, more than half of it from its Appalachia natural gas assets after a slump in prices.

The U.S. oil major is considering the sale of shale-gas holdings, according to a statement Tuesday. The company said separately it intends to exit its stake in the Kitimat liquefied natural gas project in Canada. And Chevron also plans to keep its 2020 capital budget at $20 billion, the third consecutive year it hasn’t boosted spending. 
The company’s actions come from a chief executive officer, Mike Wirth, whose mantra has been capital discipline. Wirth earlier this year earned $1 billion for the company by walking away from a bidding war for Anadarko Petroleum Corp. San Ramon, California-based Chevron is the best performer among the five Western oil majors this year, but it has faced mounting costs at its Tengiz project in Kazakhstan.

“The Appalachia writedown should be baked in, but the others are incrementally negative” for the stock, said Muhammed Ghulam, a Houston-based analyst at Raymond James & Associates. “I would expect most companies to have to write down gas assets this year.”
Click here to read more. 

December 2019 Shale Activity Maps Published by ODNR






Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Carnegie Mellon Study Claims Shale Drilling is a Net Negative

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Although the massive shale gas build-out in the Appalachian Basin has produced significant economic benefits, a new Carnegie Mellon University study says all the drilling, fracking and cracking isn’t worth the environmental, health and climate damage. 
The study estimates air pollution from shale gas development activities in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia from 2004 to 2016 resulted in 1,200 to 4,600 premature deaths in the region, and while most of the added employment occurred in rural areas, most of the health impacts were felt in urban areas. 
“It’s a rural job phenomenon with urban health impacts,” said Nicholas Muller, associate professor of economics, engineering and public policy at CMU and one of five study authors. “That’s the trade-off. How are regulators able to evaluate that trade?” 
Advocacy groups on either side of the issue reacted to the study with a mix of skepticism and praise. The Marcellus Shale Coalition, which represents oil and gas companies, cited other studies that found little pollution impact and significant economic benefits. The Breathe Project, a coalition that includes environmental advocates, public health professionals and academics, hailed the CMU study as groundbreaking and said such a comprehensive analysis is long overdue.
Read more of this article by clicking here. 

Monday, December 9, 2019

Ohio Supreme Court Rules That 21-Year Statute of Limitations Applies to Oil and Gas Leases Terminated for Lack of Production

From VORYS:
On November 26, 2019, the Supreme Court of Ohio clarified that a declaratory judgment claim that an oil and gas lease terminated for lack of production is subject to the 21-year statute of limitations for recovery of title to or possession of real property in R.C. 2305.04. See Browne v. Artex Oil Co., Slip Op. No. 2019-Ohio-4809. In Browne, the lessee argued that an action like the case at bar was subject to the 15-year statute of limitations for actions upon written contracts in former R.C. 2305.06. The Court disagreed. The Court noted that the lessors were not alleging a breach of the oil and gas lease, but were simply requesting a declaration that the oil and gas lease had terminated by its terms through operation of law. This claim was was more akin to an action to quiet title than one upon a written contract, the Court found, as the lessee had no obligation to produce under the lease and the parties did not dispute the lease’s provisions.
Click here to read the whole post. 

Rig Count Up One on Latest Utica Permitting Report

WEEK ENDING 11/30/19



New permits issued last week: 10 (Previous week: 9)  +1
Total horizontal permits issued: 3216 (Previous week: 3206 +10
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2736 (Previous week: 2734)  +2
Total horizontal wells producing: 2367 (Previous week: 2366)  +1
Utica rig count: 11 (Previous week: 10)  +1

Friday, December 6, 2019

Rover and NEXUS Seek to Have Their Taxes Slashed

One of the selling points touted by the companies behind the NEXUS and Rover pipelines as they sought approval and community support was the amount of property tax revenue that would be generated by their operation in Ohio. 

Now the companies are seeking to have the amount of taxes they pay out be drastically reduced.  From the Canton Repository:
Stark County Auditor Alan Harold said the state told him last week that Rover was seeking to cut its 2019 assessment by roughly 50 percent. 
In an email, spokeswoman Alexis Daniel wrote that the pipeline was a major project with many nuances and Rover is working with the state to determine an accurate valuation. 
NEXUS is seeking to cut its statewide taxable value 30 percent from $1.4 billion to roughly $996 million, according to a copy of the appeal provided by spokesman Adam Parker. 
NEXUS argues it needs the reduction because the $2.6 billion pipeline cost $400 million than expected and it lost market share to other pipelines during an 11-month delay in federal approval. 
“Nexus is committed to paying a fair and justified property tax based on the true market value of the pipeline and looks forward to developing future economic and taxing opportunities in Ohio,” Parker wrote in an email.

Until the appeals are decided, the pipelines must pay taxes on the undisputed portion of their valuations. 
After the Department of Taxation issues a decision, the companies or the affected counties can appeal to the Board of Tax Appeals.
Click here to continue reading this article. 

FirstEnergy Case Gets Tossed by Ohio Supremes, But Company Declares Victory; Fight Continues

FirstEnergy has been fighting an ongoing battle against those looking to introduce a referendum overturning the nuclear bailout the company was handed by Ohio lawmakers.  The company has employed dishonest fear-mongering ads, workers who physically tried to block people from signing the referendum, putting a different petition in front of people interested in signing the referendum to try and confuse them, and of course legal maneuvering (which has included doing a 180-degree turnaround from an earlier stance of refusing to call the ratepayer fees that will line the company's pockets a tax to now stating that it is a tax in order to get a favorable legal ruling).

The fight continues.

From RTO Insider:
The Ohio Supreme Court last week rejected FirstEnergy Solutions’ attempt to block a referendum to repeal $150 million in subsidies for its two nuclear plants. 
Four of the court’s seven judges dismissed FES’ lawsuit, citing a “lack of justifiable controversy.” While the court documents offer no further elaboration, the referendum effort against FES’ plant subsidies failed in October, and its future — including whether petitioners will get extra time to gather the necessary signatures for inclusion on the November ballot — pends before the same court. 
“The decision by the Ohio Supreme Court is a victory for Ohio’s electric customers and recognizes the attempted referendum on HB 6 is over,” Tom Becker, an FES spokesperson, said in email to RTO Insider on Monday. “Those opposed to the bill were unable to gather the requisite number of signatures to initiate a referendum; therefore there is no longer a need for the court to rule on the case.” 
Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts began a campaign against Ohio’s House Bill 6 the same day Gov. Mike DeWine signed the legislation in July. In October, however, the group said it fell nearly 45,000 signatures short of the count necessary for the referendum’s inclusion on the 2020 ballot. 
In its lawsuit, FES argued the new ratepayer fees collected for its nuclear plants — ranging from 80 cents to $2,400/month — are equal to a tax, making the underlying legislation ineligible for the petition that the group was circulating for a ballot referendum. The lawsuit named both the group and Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the state’s chief election official, as defendants. (See FirstEnergy Challenges Nuke Vote in Ohio Supreme Court.) 
Gene Pierce, spokesperson for Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts, had a different interpretation of the last week’s ruling. 
“The Ohio Supreme Court decision correctly rejected FirstEnergy Solutions’ argument that HB 6’s billion-dollar bailout is not subject to referendum, one of many desperate and greedy FES maneuvers trying to deny Ohioans’ right to vote on bad legislation,” Pierce told RTO Insider in an email. “The argument was ridiculed from the first time it was aired in public, and this legal proceeding was a waste of the Ohio Supreme Court’s time and taxpayers’ money.”
Read more by clicking here and also by clicking here.

Multiple Meetings Held on Proposed Cracker Plant; Still No Final Decision

It's been well over 4 years since we first posted about Belmont County being the site selected for a potential cracker plant.  Despite the fact that site preparation and property acquisition has been ongoing in preparation of constructing the plant, there still is no final decision.  Reports of multiple recent meetings being held about the project may perhaps provide an indication that this may change in the near future.

From WTOV News:


A private meeting was held in Belmont County on Tuesday regarding the proposed ethane cracker plant project.
Members of PTT Global Chemical and Daelim met with state and local leaders at the site in Dilles Bottom. The meeting was held at a garage on the site, and there is no word on what took place inside.
No official announcement has been made regarding the ethane cracker plant that would be built on hundreds of acres in Dilles Bottom.
Read on by clicking here. 

And from WHIO:
Ohio's Republican governor and lieutenant governor met Wednesday with officials from one of the companies proposing to build a multi-billion dollar ethane “cracker”plant in southeast Ohio. 
A spokesman for Gov. Mike DeWine said no “substantive update" would be provided from the meeting in Columbus with board members from Thailand's PTT Global Chemical. 
State and local officials for nearly two years have anticipated an announcement about whether PTT in partnership with South Korea's Daelim Industrial Co. would build the plant along the Ohio River in Belmont County.
Click here to read that whole article. 

And finally, another report from WTOV indicating that officials feel optimistic following their closed meeting at the site:


A private meeting between PTT Global Chemical, DAELIM and state and local leaders took place at the potential ethane cracker plant site in Dilles Bottom Tuesday.

Commissioner JP Dutton says it was just an informational meeting with PTT Global Chemical. He's hoping a positive announcement will be made soon.

"The project team just provided general updates obviously to the state and local governments,” said Dutton.

Dutton says the companies involved have been very open and easy to work with throughout the process.

“To try and develop that relationship as the company moves to a potential investment decision," said the commissioner.
See that original report by clicking here. 



Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Utica Rig Count Drops to 10

WEEK ENDING 11/23/19



New permits issued last week: 9 (Previous week: 1)  +8
Total horizontal permits issued: 3206 (Previous week: 3201 +5
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2734 (Previous week: 2732)  +2
Total horizontal wells producing: 2366 (Previous week: 2361)  +5
Utica rig count: 10 (Previous week: 13)  -3

CSU Study Says Shale Investment in Ohio is Up to $78 Billion Since 2011

From a JobsOhio press release:
Total investment in Ohio's resource rich shale energy sector has reached $78 billion since tracking began in 2011, according to a Cleveland State University (CSU) study. 
Prepared for JobsOhio, the report represents the most recent data available and covers shale investment through the second half of 2018. Earlier in the year, IHS Markit released estimates that by 2040, the Utica and Marcellus shale region, of which Ohio is a significant part, will supply nearly half of all U.S. natural gas production. 
The study from CSU's Energy Policy Center at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, showed drilling investments were slightly down in the second half of 2018 compared to the first half, but total upstream investments were up. Total shale-related investment in Ohio for the second half of 2018, including upstream, midstream and downstream, was around $3.82 billion. Total investment from 2011-2018 totaled about $77.7 billion.

Upstream activities, such as drilling or royalties, accounted for more than $3.5 billion of this total. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas, 117 new wells were drilled during the third and fourth quarters of 2018, 40 fewer than in the first half of the year. Yet longer laterals are resulting in higher production and increased investment per well. Data indicates that the volume of gas-equivalent shale production in the second half of 2018 was 17.7% higher than in the first half, with total upstream spending in the second half of 2018 exceeding that for the first half by around $173.4 million.
Read the whole release by clicking right here. 

Pipeline Through Hamilton County Gets Official Green Light

From WXVU:
The Ohio Power Siting Board Thursday approved Duke Energy's request for a natural gas pipeline in Hamilton County. 
The board approved the Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the Central Corridor Pipeline Extension's alternative plan. 
The alternative plan proposes running the nearly 13-mile, 20-inch diameter pipeline from Blue Ash to just south of Golf Manor along a route that primarily follows Reading Road, passing through Amberley Village, Cincinnati, Evendale, Reading and Sharonville as well as Blue Ash and Golf Manor. 
You can see the exact route in the diagram below.

Gulfport Energy Decides to Cut Jobs and Stop Share Buybacks, Leaving Top Investor Angry

From Reuters:
U.S. gas exploration and production company Gulfport Energy Corp (GPOR.O) on Monday confirmed that it would cut jobs, change its board and end its share buybacks, in a bid to reverse a slide in its stock price. 
Reuters had reported the news earlier in the day, citing sources. 
Gulfport shares, which fell 7.8% to $2.85 in morning trading, have lost about 67% of their market value in the last 12 months, as weak natural gas prices have eroded its profitability and forced it to slash capital investment. 
Gulfport, whose production is focused primarily in the Utica Shale in Ohio and SCOOP acreage in Oklahoma, also made a new commitment to use excess cash to pay down debt, which totaled $2.1 billion as of the end of September. 
The company said it would shed about 13% of its workforce. It also said that Chairman David Houston will not seek reelection to the company’s board when his term ends in 2020, with two other directors - Craig Groeschel and Scott Streller - stepping down from Gulfport’s board by the end of this year.
Click here to read the whole article.

And in another story from Reuters:
Firefly Value Partners on Thursday asked Gulfport Energy for a seat on its board and criticized the “half-measures” which the U.S. gas exploration and production company is taking to improve its financial performance. 
On Monday, Oklahoma City-based Gulfport announced job cuts, board changes and an end to its share buyback program to focus on debt repurchases, to help reverse a more than 65% slide in its share price over the last 12 months. 
But Monday’s proposals failed to captivate investors who pushed the stock down further. 
By Thursday, the New York-based hedge fund fired off a letter to the board in which it blamed the current directors for the company’s failures and said these people could not be entrusted to “clean up the mess they have made.” 
“That is why we are asking that the board immediately fill one of the new director vacancies with a Firefly principal as a shareholder representative,” the letter said.
Read on by clicking here. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Ohio Counties Outside of Utica Drilling Look to Cash In on Shale Boom

From the Times Leader:
As drillers tap the natural gas reserves beneath Ohio’s easternmost counties, community leaders to the west hope to pump some of those profits into their own economies by developing ancillary industries.

Ohio Rep. Adam Holmes, R-Nashport, met recently with representatives of JobsOhio and the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth to discuss ways that counties adjacent to the Marcellus and Utica shale region can capitalize on the activity that is taking place there. At the Zanesville meeting, Holmes said counties such as Muskingum — which lies just west of Guernsey County and within 50 miles of many parts of Noble, Monroe, Harrison and Belmont counties where much of the drilling is taking place — are ideal locations for support services related to the industry. 
Holmes suggested that because of its central location less than an hour east of the state capital and along Interstate 70, Muskingum County is a suitable spot for trucking companies to set up maintenance and repair facilities. He said the location is also ideal for pipe yards and manufacturing and storage for pipelining companies. He pointed out that the flatter terrain of Muskingum County, as opposed to the rolling hills of the more eastern counties, means it is easier to construct large buildings and facilities there. 
He referred to his legislative District 97, which includes Guernsey and Muskingum counties, as a “downstream area” in connection with the industry.
Click here to read the whole article. 

Still No Official Decision on Belmont County Cracker Plant, But Work Continues at Proposed Site

From WTOV News:

There appears to be some movement at the site of the proposed ethane cracker plant. We took SkyView9 to the location Wednesday to get a better look. 
You can see dirt being moved and some construction work which appears to be making way for the plant in Dilles Bottom, but there is still no confirmation of the plant from PTT Global Chemical.
Click here to view the full article on WTOV's site. 

Rig Count Down to 13, Permitting Slowing Again in Utica Shale

WEEK ENDING 11/09/19



New permits issued last week: 6 (Previous week: 8)  -2
Total horizontal permits issued: 3201 (Previous week: 3192 +9
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2724 (Previous week: 2714)  +10
Total horizontal wells producing: 2358 (Previous week: 2345)  +13
Utica rig count: 13 (Previous week: 14)  -1




WEEK ENDING 11/16/19



New permits issued last week: 1 (Previous week: 6)  -5
Total horizontal permits issued: 3201 (Previous week: 3201 +-0
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2732 (Previous week: 2724)  +8
Total horizontal wells producing: 2361 (Previous week: 2358)  +3
Utica rig count: 13 (Previous week: 13)  +-0

Friday, November 8, 2019

Gulfport Energy Looking to Sell Some Utica Assets

From the Times Reporter:
Gulfport Energy is looking to sell some of its interests in the Utica Shale. 
The company announced the plan ahead of its Friday conference call with investors to discuss third-quarter earnings. 
Gulfport said proceeds from its sale of non-operated interests would offset higher-than-anticipated spending this year in the Utica. The company expected to have an agreement on the sale before the end of the year, according to a press release.

Oklahoma City-based Gulfport lost $48.8 million, or 31 cents per diluted share during the quarter. 
The company’s average production was equivalent to 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. Utica wells accounted for 80 percent of production.
Click here to continue the article. 

EQT Looking to Sell Off its Ohio Assets

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
One of Mr. Rice’s signature promises during the proxy battle was to bring EQT’s costs down to $735 per foot. For an average well being drilled next year in southwestern Pennsylvania, at 13,000 feet long, that would translate to $9,555,000. He said EQT will be below that level by the second half of next year in this area. Its West Virginia and Ohio programs have higher cost and shorter laterals. 
But while company leaders told analysts on Thursday that “West Virginia will become a larger part of EQT’s story going forward,” the Ohio assets that Mr. Rice personally negotiated at a critical point in his former firm Rice Energy’s trajectory may be headed for a sale. 
To pay off debt, EQT is also considering selling off holdings in central Pennsylvania and southern West Virginia. 
It is also looking at selling a stake in its mineral interests, as has become more common in the industry with players like Range Resources. A deal on royalty interests could come in “a matter of months,” EQT’s leaders said and might involve a cut of current and/or future production.
Read the whole article by clicking here. 

Murray Energy Corp. Files for Bankruptcy

From the Pittsburgh Business Times:
Murray Energy, the nation’s largest privately owned coal mining company — which owns facilities in West Virginia and Ohio — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday. 
Murray Energy, which is based in St. Clairsville, Ohio, reported between $1 billion and $10 billion in estimated liabilities and assets between $1 billion and $10 billion in the filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Southern Ohio. Its top 10 unsecured creditors have $126.9 million in claims, according to the bankruptcy filing. 
Murray Energy founder Robert Murray, one of the strongest voices in the coal industry, will move from CEO to chairman. Robert D. Moore has been named president and CEO of Murray Energy and Murray Energy Corp.
Click here to read more. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

GOP Effort to Block Nationwide Fracking Ban Gets Stopped by House Democrats

From the Washington Times:
House Democrats blocked Tuesday consideration of a resolution in support of hydraulic fracturing as Republicans sought to protect the U.S. energy boom from Democratic presidential candidates seeking to ban fracking nationwide 
The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Rob Bishop, Utah Republican, affirmed that states should “maintain primacy for the regulation of hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas production on State and private lands,” and that no president should impose a moratorium without congressional approval. 
“In recent weeks, many of the Democratic candidates for president have pledged to ban hydraulic fracturing in the United States, a campaign promise straight out of the keep-it-in-the-ground playbook,” said Rep. Debbie Lesko, Arizona Republican, in a floor speech. 
Sens. Kamala Harris, Bernard Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, all 2020 Democratic presidential hopfeuls, have called for a nationwide ban on fracking, an extraction process used in the vast majority of U.S. natural gas production.
Read the whole article by clicking right here. 

Analysts Try to Quantify Effects of Fracking Ban Promised by Democratic Presidential Candidates

From Forbes:
A number of Democratic candidates have endorsed a fracking ban, recently including Elizabeth Warren, and as Bob McNally said, this would “vaporize the oil and gas boom in the United States.” In this piece, I will try to quantify the impact of a fracking ban on the U.S. natural gas supply, and the concomitant economic effects. 
Of course, there is some skepticism that she would actually do that if elected, and suspicion that the suggestion is nothing more than an attempt to appeal to the more liberal Democratic primary voters. Given that Democrats from Barack Obama to Jerry Brown have not opposed (regulated) fracking, and the pertinent fact that politicians often make promises they don’t intend to keep, (shocking I know), I would lean towards that myself. 
My belief is strengthened by the nature of the arguments in favor of a fracking ban. Yes, it’s done by big oil (I mean BIG OIL), except many of the companies are much smaller. Yes, it’s a novel method, except it’s been done for about a century in various forms. And yes, there is evidence of pollutants like benzene near fracking sites, but mainly because there’s benzene nearly everywhere. One would like to think that the public would recognize that argument resembles fears of radiation from nuclear power plants—which are trivial when compared to natural radiation levels.
Click here to read the rest of the article. 

AEP Sells Thousands of Acres to Ohio, Retains Subsurface Rights

From The Columbus Dispatch:
Thousands of acres of land the state of Ohio has agreed to purchase from American Electric Power for recreation and conservation does not include the subsurface rights. AEP is holding onto those rights for potential future drilling for oil and natural gas. 
The state’s planned $47 million purchase of more than 31,000 acres of land in eastern Ohio for recreation and conservation does not include the subsurface rights, and some of it likely will be the site of fracking activities, The Dispatch has learned. 
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine — flanked by outdoorsmen and members of the General Assembly — announced the land purchase in eastern Ohio from American Electric Power a few weeks ago. The move was applauded by conservationists because the land, formerly used by the utility for strip mining, would be used by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for recreation and conservation and designated as a state park. 
However, a draft of the purchase agreement obtained by The Dispatch shows AEP will retain the subsurface rights to the land for potential oil and gas drilling. 
The draft states that AEP retains the “right to construct, install, and maintain well site locations, access roads, production equipment, pipeline systems, and utilities and to conduct seismic and geological surveys and the right to drill and extract from new water wells and reasonable use of non-domestic surface water for such purposes.”
You can continue this article by clicking here. 

President Trump Praises Shale Drilling During PA Rally

From Kallanish Energy:
President Trump Wednesday celebrated a love-in in the Appalachian Basin. 
The president delivered a 64-minute salute to shale drilling and the U.S. energy industry at the 9th annual Shale Insight conference in Pittsburgh. Kallanish Energy was in attendance. 
“You are the No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas on the planet Earth, No. 1 by far,” he said. “America is a winner, a winner, a winner, a winner. We’re not being laughed at anymore.” 
Shale drilling has reshaped the American economy and Americans are benefitting from lower heating bills and more jobs, Trump said. 
‘I like energy people’ 
“I like energy people,” he said. He addressed an audience of roughly 5,200 persons at the David Lawrence Convention Center, including nearly 1,480 conference attendees and those involved in staging the conference. 
The conference was staged by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association.
Click here to read the whole article. 

November 2019 Well Activity Maps Posted by ODNR





Rig Count Back to 14 in Utica Shale

WEEK ENDING 10/26/19



New permits issued last week: 8 (Previous week: 10)  -2
Total horizontal permits issued: 3192 (Previous week: 3187 +5
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2714 (Previous week: 2708)  +6
Total horizontal wells producing: 2345 (Previous week: 2340)  +5
Utica rig count: 14 (Previous week: 13)  +1



WEEK ENDING 11/02/19




New permits issued last week: 6 (Previous week: 8)  -2
Total horizontal permits issued: 3198 (Previous week: 3192 +6
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2719 (Previous week: 2714)  +5
Total horizontal wells producing: 2355 (Previous week: 2345)  +10
Utica rig count: 14 (Previous week: 14)  +-0

Monday, November 4, 2019

FirstEnergy Will Try Anything to Avoid Reversal on Nuclear Bailout

From Cleveland.com:
A federal judge has rejected a last-ditch plea by opponents of Ohio’s new nuclear bailout law to be granted 38 additional days to collect petition signatures for a referendum overturning it. 
Instead, U.S. District Court Judge Edmund A. Sargus asked the Ohio Supreme Court for its opinion on whether to grant more time, on the grounds that the legal questions involved the Ohio Constitution, not the U.S. Constitution. 
“The court has jurisdiction to decide cases and controversies arising only under federal law,” the judge wrote in an opinion issued Wednesday night. “As the parties agree, this court does not have jurisdiction over any claim that the secretary of state or the Ohio General Assembly has violated the referendum provisions of the Ohio Constitution.” 
Sargus sent four “certified questions” to the state Supreme Court, including whether anti-HB6 activists should be credited with more time to collect signatures. 
Under state law, referendum seekers have 90 days to collect and submit at least 265,774 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. 
But the group Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts sought a preliminary injunction for an extra 38 days, because that is how long it took them to get approval from Attorney General Dave Yost and Secretary of State Frank LaRose to start collecting signatures.
Read the whole article by clicking here.

Another article from Cleveland.com:
Police have charged a now-former worker for the campaign defending Ohio’s House Bill 6, the recently passed nuclear bailout law, as a result of her confrontation in suburban Columbus with a worker for the campaign trying to repeal the law. 
Dublin police said Friday they have charged Stinner Wimberly Shine of Columbus with a misdemeanor count of criminal damaging. She was charged after police say she broke a cell phone belonging to Harold Chung, a Las Vegas man working for the pro-repeal campaign. 
Chung was collecting signatures Tuesday outside a Dublin library when he tried to take a picture of Wimberly Shine, who had been hired by the pro-HB6 campaign to try to disrupt the signature gathering process. 
The charge is a second-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $750 fine. 
Cleveland.com obtained surveillance footage of the incident from the Columbus Metropolitan Library system via a public records request.
Click here to continue reading and view the video.

And with more details on how dirty the fight over this issue has become, this is from the Dayton Daily News:
Opposing House Bill 6 and favoring a referendum: Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts, a coalition of business, consumer and environmental groups, opposes the new law and is seeking to put it up for a referendum in November 2020, the same day as the presidential election. 
Favoring House Bill 6 and opposing a referendum: Akron-based FirstEnergy Solutions, Generation Now, Ohioans for Energy Security and owners of the Ohio Valley Electric Corp. plants. 
At stake is more than $1 billion slated to go to FirstEnergy Solutions and OVEC if the new law is preserved. 
An expensive campaign 
Supporters of HB6 have spent $16.56 million so far on advertising to get the bill passed and stop the referendum, according to Medium Buying, a firm that tracks ad buys. 
Opponents of HB6 have spent $4.46 million so far, according to the firm.

Those figures do not include money spent on lobbyists, political strategists or petition circulators. 
Political insiders who run ballot issue campaigns say the spending and the hardball tactics are jaw dropping. 
“Ohio has never ever seen this level of decline-to-sign petition campaign,” said Ian James, who ran the 2015 ballot campaign to legalize marijuana in Ohio. “And I doubt, if the petition falls short on signatures, that Ohioans will ever truly know the level of funding that was spent for and against the petition HB6 effort.”
Read more by clicking here. 
 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Utica Permitting Back on the Rise, Rig Count Holds Steady

WEEK ENDING 10/19/19



New permits issued last week: 10 (Previous week: 0)  +10
Total horizontal permits issued: 3187 (Previous week: 3177 +10
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2708 (Previous week: 2708)  +-0
Total horizontal wells producing: 2340 (Previous week: 2340)  +-0
Utica rig count: 13 (Previous week: 13)  +-0

Encino Energy Faces Lawsuit Over Underpaid Royalties

From The Review:
The lawsuit concerns leases landowners signed with Ohio Buckeye Energy or Chesapeake Energy from 2010 through 2012. Ohio Buckeye Energy later became part of Chesapeake. 
Last October, Encino Acquisition Partners bought Chesapeake’s Utica holdings in Ohio for $2 billion. EAP is a partnership between the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Encino Energy, a private oil and gas company based in Houston. 
EAP’s purchase included 900,000 acres and approximately 900 wells, with related equipment and property. Encino Energy’s Utica office is in Louisville. 
Royalty dispute
After the purchase, the Encino defendants began to significantly underpay royalties to landowners, according to the lawsuit. 
William G. Williams, an attorney for the landowners, said his clients initially couldn’t wait for Encino to take over because Chesapeake had been making large deductions from their royalties, a practice that is the subject of another lawsuit. 
High expectations changed to despair and disappointment when the landowners got their first Encino royalty checks this summer, Williams said. The payments were anywhere from 50 to 90 percent less than what Chesapeake had been paying.
Click right here to view the rest of the article. 

Report: Ohio Counties Have Received Nearly $142 Million in Real Estate Property Taxes from Utica Shale Production


Eight of Ohio’s top Utica Shale development counties collected more than $141.9 million in real estate property taxes on oil and natural gas production since 2010, according to an updated report by Energy In Depth and the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.
The Utica Shale Local Support Series report entitled, “2019 Update: Ohio’s Oil and Gas Industry Property Tax Payments,” analyzes the economic impacts of oil and natural gas real estate property (or ad valorem) taxes paid in these counties from 2010-2017: BelmontCarrollColumbianaGuernseyHarrisonJeffersonMonroe and Noble.
Data was collected through Freedom of Information Act requests, and builds on EID and OOGA’s previous 2017 reports on real estate property taxes and road use management agreements.
The Utica Shale Local Support Series shows the real dollars being paid to Ohio’s communities. As Harrison Hills Superintendent Dana Snider said:
“Harrison Hills has experienced a great working and supportive relationship with the oil and gas industry. Part of that support comes from the ad valorem tax, which in large part comes to the district. Those dollars have allowed us to reinvest in our students, staff and facilities to provide a state of the art, nurturing and creative learning environment that our community is proud of.”
Here are the key findings of the 2019 updated report:
To read the full report or view county specific information: